Kandinsky in the countryside: Bavaria’s museums send art lovers out for a hike

It is one of those dilemmas that many Munich visitors are confronted with in summer: How can the precious time between the Bavarian capital with all its cultural sights and sightseeing in the beautiful landscape at the gates of the city best be balanced?

Five art museums have come together to offer travelers a solution.

It is called “MuSeenLandschaft Expressionismus” – a word creation that means “museum landscape” but also “lake landscape”. It’s a different and more immersive type of gallery visit that allows art lovers to see world-famous works of art first and then walk the same nearby paths that the artists were inspired by breathtaking landscapes.

It combines the exploration of an exciting chapter in the European and German art history of early modernism with a journey through one of the most beautiful regions in Germany – the five-lake region south of Munich Avant-garde in color. Blauer Reiter, Brücke, Expressionism Until November 21st, travelers are invited to delve deeper into the leading modern painters and their works of the early 20th century: names like Kandinsky, Marc, Muenter, Macke, Campendonk, Yavlensky, Klee, Werefkin and others who have so much of it take their inspiration from the lakes, forests and mountains – but also from the surrounding villages – of the region.

The five museums are the Lenbachhaus in Munich, undoubtedly the world’s leading treasure trove of the Blue Riders, the Buchheim Museum of Fantasy in the Starnberg Seestadt Bernried, the Murnau am Staffelsee Castle Museum, the Marc Museum in Kochel on a hill overlooking the Kochelsee and the Museum Penzberg-Sammlung Campendonk near 13 Ice Age Easter lakes.

It’s hard not to be inspired by the landscapes around the hiking trails of the Bavarian five-lake region south of Munich. Photo: dpa

Matthias Muehling, director of the Lenbachhaus, points out that this combination of places in town and country reflects the influences on the painters of the time.

“They were artists who were at home in the exciting environment of galleries, salons and studios for which the Munich art scene was so famous at that time, the early 20th century,” he said.

“But they also traveled a lot in the region, some of them stayed there.”

Franz Marc, for example – the painter whose iconic Blue Horse is the symbol of the Blue Rider – had a house in Sindelsdorf that August Macke was a frequent guest.

Then there was the couple Gabriele Muenter and the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who lived in nearby Murnau. Your place has been called “the Russian house” by the locals because of the steady stream of Russian artists visiting.

The exhibitions of the five museums complement each other in terms of the exhibited artists and works. But every museum also has its own special accent.

The exhibition of the Buchheim Museum with the title Avant-garde colors offers a wide range of works by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Emil Nolde and Ludwig Kirchner. The exhibition of the Museum Penzberg with the title All around beauty places a special focus on one of the lesser-known Blauer Reiter painters, Heinrich Campendonk, and his reverse glass paintings and handicrafts.

        In the exhibition In the exhibition “Group Dynamics: The Blue Rider” a woman walks past “Jumper” by Heinrich Campendonk (left) and “Die Stadt” by Robert Delaunay. Photo: dpa

The Franz Marc Museum with an exhibition entitled I am my style shows several loans from other museums, such as Kandinsky’s Interior with two women (1910) from Bern and a Max Beckmann self-portrait from the Heydt Museum in Wuppertal.

The Lenbachhaus exhibition entitled Group dynamics – runs until March 2023 – shows works by Robert Delauney and Henri Rousseau on loan from the Guggenheim Museum and the Center Georges Pompidou.

But it also shows Bavarian and Russian folk art, Japanese woodcuts and works of Balinese, Gabonese, Oceanic, Sri Lankan, Mexican and Egyptian art.

For travelers, the close proximity of the five locations offers the opportunity to see several, if not all, of the shows.

The Buchheim Museum on the west bank of Lake Starnberg is closest to Munich, around 40 km away. The cities of Penzberg (60 km), Murnau (75 km) and finally Kochel (85 km) can be easily reached from Munich.

With the Werdenfelsbahn, which runs from Munich into the region, visitors can also reach all cities by train. The joint program also offers bike tours with a total of 185 km of bike paths between the five venues.

Anyone who has explored the region with its castles, monasteries, baroque churches and idyllic farming villages could be confronted with the same conflict as at the beginning – just the other way around: you might be wondering whether you would like to spend a little more time in the Bavarian countryside before returning Munich. – dpa

About Stephanie McGehee

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